Reflecting Back on Advantech’s WPC
February 01, 2024
It was a couple of months ago, but it feels like yesterday that I was at the Advantech World Partner Conference, held at the company’s headquarters in Taiwan. As a refresher, the event is held live, in-person, but much of the content is captured and available virtually after the fact.
The topics covered at the event spanned loT, AI, 5G, cloud computing, and Edge intelligence technologies. One of the highlights for me was the time I got to spend with KC Liu, the Chairman and CEO of Advantech, one of the more honest and down-to-earth people I’ve come across. One aspect of that conversation that really stood out for me is his idea that having lots of competition is a very good thing for Advantech. To that end, it’s should not come as a surprise that many of Advantech’s Taiwanese competitors, and there are many, are off-shoots of the parent company. The result is a healthy grouping of embedded board and system suppliers hailing from the relatively small island country.
Some of the other highlights were lots of examples of how Advantech is “Enabling an Intelligent Planet.” That’s a phrase that continues to evolve, and it currently has a lot to do with ESG, and how the company is contributing to each of those aspects. Those contributions come from developing smart factories, both for internal use and for its customers, providing housing when necessary for employees, and helping to “digitize everything.”
Another hot topic was the supply chain, and what to do about interruptions, which we now know, can and do happen at any time. Advantech is trying to be smart about it handles its inventory, which results a in a smoother delivery process for its customers.
A final topic was the “engineering shortage.” All parties seemed to agree that this is a global problem, and there is no end in sight. In fact, the problem is likely to get far worse before it gets better, because their need for engineers, particularly on the software side, is increasing. One of Advantech’s solutions for this problem is to get more involved at the university level and even below. Hence, the engineers are A) more likely to stick with engineering as a career choice, and B) be more receptive for working for Advantech upon graduation, as the company would already be a known quantity.
I’m already looking forward to the next event, to see how far Advantech has come in its quest to enable a smarter planet.